26 October, 2010


A couple of days ago while on my way to work, I was listening to Erno Rubik on an interview on NPR (yeah, I know, leftist media).

At one point the host (Doug Fabrizio, I believe) asked: "Why did you choose a cube? Why 9 squares on each side of the cube?" To which Mr. Rubik answered something to the effect of:

Well, I was trying to come up with the simplest solution possible. And that actually turned out to be very hard; it's always very hard to define something in it's simplest terms... (and a few more minutes of explanation about why reaching simplicity is so hard) Anyhow, I wanted to find the simple form to teach my students how to describe movement in mathematical terms; a cube with nine squares was the simplest way I could do that.

I just loved that answer. I've long had a feeling that when writing software the simplest solution will always be the most maintainable solution. Simplicity is the core principle on which YAGNI, DRY, and so many other software engineering ideas are built. As DaVinci said:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

So here's this post in honor of writing simple, sophisticated code. Long live simplicity!